But the real question is why won’t Governor Malloy, Mayor Finch or Malloy’s Education Commissioner, Stefan Pryor, pick up the phone and simply say…”enough, just stop it.”
Tomorrow night, Bridgeport’s illegally appointed Board of Education will vote to extend the contract for Paul Vallas, Bridgeport’s $229,000, part-time, interim Superintendent of Schools.
Vallas’ contract presently runs through December 2012. He has said that he is willing to stay through June 2013, but the people appointed by the Malloy Administration to oversee Bridgeport’s schools want him to stay until June 2014.
Connecticut’s Supreme Court has ruled that it was illegal for Governor Malloy’s Administration take over Bridgeport’s schools and appoint this group of people to run the school system. However, since it takes time to hold an election, the Supreme Court said that this illegally appointed board could in place until a democratically elected school board was re-seated.
Bridgeport will have a democratically elected board of education in less than 90 days.
The decision about Vallas’ contract can wait 90 days.
In fact, it is a complete and utter abuse of power for the illegally appointed board to extend Paul Vallas’ contract since the democratically elected board will have plenty of time to consider the issue before his contract runs out in December.
So why rush to lock Vallas’ extended contract into place?
The illegally appointed board is rushing because they are afraid that a board of education, elected by the people of Bridgeport, might decide not to extend Vallas’ contract.
They are so afraid of democracy that they are rushing to sign a long-term, $500,000 plus, contract will Vallas. With a signed contract, they believe that a democratically elected school board will be less likely to explore hiring someone else since it would have to buy out this new contract, costing taxpayers half a million or more. This issue comes on top of the problem that taxpayers are already paying over $225,000 to buy out the contract of the former superintendent that this same, illegally appointed board, fired a few months ago.
But stop… Really stop… And think about the motivation behind this incredible abuse of power.
(1) If Vallas is as good as this board believes he is and is actually having the impact that he says that he is having; the democratically elected board would certainly want to extend his contract, especially since finding another superintendent would take time and money.
(2) Considering who the candidates that are running for Bridgeport’s new elected Board of Education, it is quite likely that Mayor Finch will have “political control” over the democratically elected board and can successfully persuade them to extend Vallas’ contract if that is the best course of action.
(3) And, if all else fails, the “deal” between the Malloy Administration and the City of Bridgeport lends Bridgeport $3.4 million in return for Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, developing a list of UP TO THREE names, with the newly elected board being required to choose one of those names. It doesn’t say UP TO THREE by accident. If the democratically elected board doesn’t want to extend Vallas’ contract, if Mayor Finch doesn’t have the power to persuade them to extend Vallas’ contract, then Commissioner Pryor can simply provide the board with the name of his colleague, Paul Vallas, and the democratically elected board will have to hire him (since the illegally appointed board is also voting to accept the state’s $3.4 million dollar deal tomorrow.
So there are at least three ways that the new democratically elected board would extend Vallas’ contract and virtually no way that Vallas could be turned away if Governor Malloy, Mayor Finch and Commissioner Pryor decide that they want him to stay.
So, if the end result is not really in question, why is the board rushing to vote.
Because not only do they fear democracy, not only are they dedicated to undermining democracy, but they simply want to show everyone just how powerful they are.
AND the price for their arrogance is that if the democratically elected board somehow determined that Bridgeport needed to go in another direction, the illegally appointed board’s action will cost Bridgeport and Connecticut taxpayers as much as half a million dollars or more.
If your governor, mayor or other elected official announced that he was going to take a particular action that wasn’t necessary and ran the risk of wasting a half a million dollars in public funds, he’d be defeated so fast he wouldn’t know what hit him.
And yet that is EXACTLY what Bridgeport’s illegally appointed board of education is going to do tomorrow night…UNLESS Governor Malloy, Mayor Finch or Commissioner Pryor pick up the phone and say, “stop, don’t do something that has little to no impact but risks $500,000 of taxpayer funds.
By late Monday night we’ll find out whether Malloy, Finch or Pryor are on the side of the taxpayers or on the side of the illegally appointed, arrogant and temporary board of education.